Why is this special? This type of garden bed has a compost bin in the center to provide water and nutrients to the surrounding plants.
A compost bin in the center of a raised garden bed. Brilliant!
We all know the fantastic benefit compost has for our soil. But I never considered actually building a garden around a compost bin.
African Keyhole Gardens originated in (you guessed it) Africa as a way to provide families with small-scale vegetable gardens. The climates where these gardens flourish are hot and dry and the soil is very poor quality. With African Keyhole Gardens people build a circular bed around a compost bin. By adding food scraps and other materials to the bin, the surrounding bed receives a steady supply of water and nutrients.
The “Keyhole” piece comes in because the bed is not a complete circle. A keyhole walkway gives access to the center compost bin.
Here are a few photos of the garden in Walnut Hills.
A shout out to Gary Dangel, community garden enthusiast and fellow composting nut with Elevate Walnut Hills for giving me the tour! It was Gary's idea to weave the compost bin out of grapevines with a very pretty result.
If you want to build your own African Keyhole Garden, I recommend checking out the creative and varied designs here.